Dining with the Queen

I never understood the novelty of the turkey leg. A chicken leg – sure. Turkey with a side of mash potatoes, possibly. But a turkey leg?

Every year the circus comes to town. But instead of tattooed ladies, trapeze artists and clowns we get queens, knights and jesters. It’s time for the annual renaissance festival. I know because Gracie tells me so. Must be all the commercials they run advertising duels, jousts and Shakespearean plays. Always sounds so appealing on the television commercials. I wonder if it would sound the same if they described it as “death by sword”, “man impaled on a long staff” and “a play you’ll never understand”. Still, to Gracie, it’s pure bliss – probably because I’ve never taken her to one.

It’s been a while since even I went to the renaissance festival. Mostly I remember paying $17 a person and walking around a hot field for an hour. I haven’t been back since. My friend tells me I missed the best part. He says it’s all about the turkey leg and the wenches. I tell him he can probably get the same effect at the local KFC. Then again, maybe not – they sell chicken after all. Still I doubt that even the wenches are worth $17 a ticket. Gracie wants to see a joust. For $17 dollars a person I’m considering a reenactment with a broomstick in the back yard and the riding lawnmower. Brooke thinks I’m being cheap. I think I’m being practical.

So when I travelled 700 miles to a Cure Starts Now event in Minneapolis, it must have been the ultimate irony that I ended up camping at a campground across from the Minneapolis version of the renaissance festival. And now, as I write this, I am surrounded by knights, queens and kings, apparently unaware that the festival closed hours ago and they’ve suddenly been transported back to the 21st century. And yes, there are wenches. The ultimate irony is that I sit at a picnic table between two groups of dueling knights on beer and tap on my laptop while they exchange Shakespearean insults that not even they truly understand.

Tomorrow the morning will come too early. The Race Against the Odds event in Minneapolis begins at 6am and I can’t wait to make a lot of noise at 4am as I close up camp and get an early start. Maybe I’ve even yell out a morning greeting of “Thine have fun” as I rev the engine and head out in the name of cancer research. After all, it would be too early – both for turkey legs and for the wenches.

No, I’ve never understood the novelty of the renaissance festival. To me it always seemed like an antique Star Trek convention. Still, for Gracie I will do anything. And next weekend, you will most likely find me paying $17 a ticket and walking around a hot field with a turkey leg in hand. Maybe the following weekend it will be a Roman Colosseum Gladiator reenactment. At least then we can skip the turkey leg.

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